/ Entrepreneurship

10 Questions for MatchMate Co-Founder Matson Tanner

You don’t have to change who you are to be an entrepreneur

Over the holidays, we had the opportunity to catch-up with Matson Tanner, co-founder of the Utah-based matchmaking software company MatchMate. Unbeknownst to us, as we were getting to know more about Tanner and his startup, MatchMate was in the process of being acquired by LikeBright, a Seattle-based provider of online and mobile dating and matchmaking software. The acquisition was officially announced on New Year’s Eve via a press release on PR Newswire.

Beehive Startups:

We don’t want to risk burying the lede, so let’s start with the big news. What’s your reaction to being acquired by LikeBright?

Matson Tanner:

We are excited to be a part of their team. Our vision is aligned with LikeBright’s. We hope to contribute to their traction and build a platform that attracts millions of users. Ultimately, we hope to see a world with a little more love in it.

Beehive Startups:

Tell our readers about you. What’s your background?

Matson Tanner:

I recently graduated from BYU. I majored in Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. I was born in Denver, Colorado, but moved to Provo early in my life. I grew up in a family of six in Northern Provo. I love sports, especially football and basketball. I love the outdoors, hiking, camping, snowboarding, and traveling. I grew up around technology, with my dad being a developer (Creator of Zenworks at Novell), and caught the entrepreneurial bug late in my teens.

Beehive Startups:

What were you working on before MatchMate?

Matson Tanner:

MatchMate was the first legitimate business I was a part of. Before MatchMate, I started a make-shift sales company, which was short lived. Before then, I worked as a manager with Vivint in their Corporate Customer Service department. I worked there for two years. Up to this point, most of my career has been on the customer facing side of things.

Beehive Startups:

How did you meet your co-founder at MatchMate, Tyler Richards?

Matson Tanner:

I met Tyler in high school. We quickly became very good friends and did nearly everything together. We have worked at the same employer nearly our whole professional careers. I ended up marrying his sister and we are now brothers! Tyler has a very similar background to me. Recently he has built his skill in design (he already had a good natural eye for it) and development.

Beehive Startups:

Why build MatchMate? How did you come up with the idea?

Matson Tanner:

The idea started when we were working on setting up our older brother. We did it through email, Facebook, texting, calls, etc… It just seemed so cumbersome! We felt that there had to be a better way of doing things.

After a lot of research, we realized that there was nothing out there to optimize meeting someone through a family member or friend online. Naturally, in an entrepreneurial family, that birthed a startup. Further research showed that nearly a third of annual marriages in the United States begin with an introduction through a family member or friend…and it was a growing market! We learned that it was safer, produced better results, and led to much longer lasting relationships. When we took the idea to our potential customers they loved it. That’s when it all began.

Beehive Startups:

How does MatchMate work, and how does it compare to your competition?

Matson Tanner:

Other services can be compared to being thrown into an ocean of people. Hopefully you get lucky and bump into your match while you’re swimming, but not likely. Other traditional dating services require lengthy surveys and tout that their “algorithms” are perfectly tuned to finding you your soul mate. We find that really hard to believe. Who knows people better than other people? Nothing!

Think, a computer will make decisions based on categories and numbers. It doesn’t have emotions! It cannot truly and accurately judge a match. MatchMate connects to your social media, allowing you to browse through your single friends, and single friends of friends. You will see people more tailored to you. You can ask your friends what they think about someone, or even ask them to introduce you! It’s simple and effective.

MatchMate not only allows singles to browse other singles and get feedback, but it allows those in relationships to easily connect their single friends. It really is an app for everyone.

Beehive Startups:

MatchMate was accepted into the BoomStartup program in May 2012. What did you think of the program?

Matson Tanner:

BoomStartup was a great experience for us. MatchMate’s co-founders were young and lacked experience. BoomStartup got us involved with some of Utah’s finest entrepreneurs. Just the mentoring alone made the whole experience worth it. We loved working with Rob Kunz, Scott Johnson, Craig Earnshaw, and many others. There wasn’t a single mentor that didn’t add value to us in some way or another.

Beehive Startups:

Did MatchMate receive any funding prior to the LikeBright acquisition?

Matson Tanner:

We were a mainly self-funded team. We did accept an investment to become a part of BoomStartup in 2012.

Beehive Startups:

Tell us about the MatchMate team. What’s everybody’s role?

Matson Tanner:

There are three of us who run the company. Tyler, our developer, and myself. Tyler has been our designer from the beginning. He and I collaborated on much of the work together. Tyler also does a lot of the front-end coding. Our developer focuses mainly on the back-end code. I deal with most customer facing portions of the business, including business dev, social media, customer service, and marketing.

Beehive Startups:

What’s the best piece of startup advice you’ve received? Do you have any advice for Utah entrepreneurs trying to launch their own product?

Matson Tanner:

Obviously, there is a lot that I could say here. I will share some of my best lessons learned during my time at MatchMate.

1. Always be yourself.

I think it is easy to get caught up looking at what everyone else has done and how everyone else is. There are articles everywhere about the qualities “most successful entrepreneurs have,” and “what successful business people do.” Ultimately you just need to be yourself and no one else. Find what works for you. The difference between a successful person and a “less” successful person is just the action they take. It’s not about what food you eat and at what time, but about if you put in the work. You don’t have to change who you are to be an entrepreneur.

2. Find your passion.

Entrepreneurship should never just be about the money. Find something that you can love, that you can work on until 2 a.m. Find something that gets you excited to get out of bed every day. If you do, that is what will help you do what it takes to be successful.

Beehive Startups:

It’s been great catching up with you, Matson. Congratulations on the acquisition. We’re looking forward to following your career, as well as the future of MatchMate now that the company is under the LikeBright umbrella. Keep in touch, and best of luck.

Published 1/3/2014